All of Main deserves to be silly
June 27, 2007
For those used to a buttoned-up Main Street, where sign sizes, light fixtures and shutter colors are closely regulated, a visit to the new Park Silly Sunday Market is a little like running naked through the sprinklers on a hot summer day. Instead of muted antique blues and reds, the palette is neon orange and green, the outdoor decibel level is cranked up and the usual restrictions on outdoor displays are turned inside out.
And all this on a Sunday in Utah, oh my!
Conceived as a grand experiment to enliven lower Main Street and to celebrate the city’s former funkiness, the Sunday Market so far, is a roaring success for the participating vendors between Heber Ave. and 9th Street.
Unfortunately, though, Main Street year-round business owners outside the fun boundary are still constrained by a tome of ordinances. No merchandise on the sidewalk, no temporary banners, no neon signs, no hawkers.
Last weekend, the difference in foot traffic between the serious and the silly ends of Main Street definitely tilted toward the rowdy ramshackle tents below the Kimball Art Center. And while several upper Main Street merchants reported an increase in Sunday business due to the popularity of the new market, it was obvious that most of the action was down below.
Which leads one to wonder whether the city should loosen its corset a bit.
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Imagine the Sunday silliness drifting up Main Street, in doorways or the breezeways between Main and Swede Alley — no outside vendors, just a relaxing of the rules on the day of the week that most of Utah devotes to more serious pursuits.
The Park Silly Sunday Market is proving to be a delightful side dish on a full plate of summer events but it does seem a bit unfair to make the city’s year-round merchants sit on the curb while a bunch of urchins play in the middle of the street.
It is not too late to invite the rest of the merchants to the party. The Park City Council should consider rolling back the rules throughout town on Sundays to let a little polka-dot and paisley fly from Old Town’s flag poles, to turn up the volume a notch and prove that Park City isn’t too sophisticated to have fun.